By: Megan Walker
On our road trip through the French Riviera, we, unfortunately, found ourselves pressed for time when entering Monaco. We hate blowing through any city (in this case country), so we were faced with the dilemma of whether to enter Monaco or save it for a time we could really enjoy it.
Well, this girl has seen The Bond movies a few too many times and I was DYING to get into the famous Monte Carlo Casino. So we made the decision to do the best we could with the hours we had.
Enter, traffic and parking.
Wedged between two Maseratis on the streets of Monte Carlo, we started wondering if we would even be able to drive the mere 2.7 miles across the small country in 2 hours. With my fear of missing the casino growing, I miraculously became the world’s best parallel parker and squeezed into a small “parking” spot.
We began making the walk down to the water’s edge where the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo and other renowned structures such as the Hotel de Paris sit overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Occasionally we would stop to peer into the high-end boutiques and peruse the “Penthouse For Sale” signs posted outside the many real-estate offices.
And then, as if a Red Sea of high-end luxury cars parted, I saw for the first time, off-screen, the dazzling entrance to the historic Casino de Monte-Carlo. I made a beeline for the entry way.
Enter Pierce Brosnan.
Just kidding, a girl can dream can’t she? My two handsome dates would suffice well enough. Entering the main atrium to the casino was striking enough to pull down your jaw and stop you in your tracks without your knowledge. The main table salon was dripping in gold trim, and high painted ceilings with deep colored carpets.
I snapped back to life when my friend Clayton offered the most brilliant idea, “Let’s order a martini”. I love having brilliant friends.
The bartender skillfully made one vodka and one gin martini and this I will never forget…As he delivered my chilled glass of shaken vodka he whispered “Thank you Mrs. Bond” and…winked. Clayton seeing my body radiating delight, made an effort to bring me back down to earth by reminding me the bartender “probably says that to everyone”.
So! He said it to me! I was sitting in the Monte Carlo Casino, with a vodka martini, and being referred to as “Mrs. Bond”. I could die happy. That was until I saw the bill and nearly choked on my 10€ olive.
With martini in hand we walked around the playing tables, looking for the table that “felt right” and eliminating the tables with “hot dealers”. We did a lap or two before we gave up the act and sat at a Blackjack table, the one game I actually know how to play, and coincidentally, the table with the lowest minimum (25 euro…cough).
The rest of our visit at the Monte Carlo was a blur of “Black Jack!”, high fiving, martini sipping, and pure bliss. We had taken the famous Monte Carlo Casino for everything they had, or almost. Although we didn’t “break the bank” we did walk away with a hefty few hundred euros of the casino’s money.
With the clock ticking we were forced to say our farewells. We went behind the Casino to walk through the gardens and along the water. Peering out over the yacht spotted sea we fantasized about the names we would choose for our mythical yachts, whether we preferred Maseratis or Ferraris, and whether we desired our villa to sit beachfront or have an ocean view up on the hill.
The whole experience was decadent, classic and exciting, a lot like living in a James Bond film. 2 hours wasn’t near enough to truly experience all a country has to offer, but it was enough to become one of the highlights of our European Road Trip. I almost fear returning with doubts another trip to Monaco could be so memorable.
Almost. I’ll be returning the next chance I get